Wellness

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Photo courtesy of Caitlyn Grabenstein (@cult.class)

How to Get Out of Your Head during Sex

Danielle Harel, PhD, and Celeste Hirschman, MA

Danielle Harel, PhD, and Celeste Hirschman, MA, are sex therapists and cocreators of the Somatica Method.

When people ask us, “How do I get out of my head during sex?” we take it to mean that they have a difficult time transitioning out of the often unsexy and task-oriented energy of daily life into something more erotic. And yes, an important part of the transition into sex is getting into your body, but that’s only half the fun. The other half is about helping your partner get into your head and helping you get into theirs.

Step 1:
Getting into Your Body

The obvious choice here is to breathe, and that works well for some people. Take ten minutes to breathe deeply all the way down into your pelvic floor, letting the breath expand your body.

For some people, breathwork won’t be distracting enough, and they will continue with their to-do lists. For you folks—you know who you are—try doing something more engaging. You can put on some music and dance around your room or in front of a mirror. Take your favorite scented lotion and rub it all over your body, massaging it in and waking yourself up to touch. Go outside and take a walk in the woods or around the block—breathe in the fresh air and start to fantasize about what you want. Or get a bit warmed up by playing with some sex toys and bringing them into bed with your lover.

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Step 2:
Getting into Each Other’s Heads

If you want to have great sex, you don’t want to get completely out of your head, especially if you are someone who is aroused by mental turn-ons as much as physical ones. Realistically, if your head isn’t engaged in the turn-on, you will probably miss the pleasure entirely.

In order to help get your head engaged, you will need to share what really turns you on, and you will need to be specific. The earlier, the better for this, though it’s never too late. Opening up this conversation in a long-term relationship can bring the spark back. When dating, the sooner you bring in this topic, the hotter your sex will be from the start. A great way to open the conversation might be, “For me, mental turn-on is so important. I would love to share with you what I like to feel emotionally during sex and what gets me there—and also hear about that from you.”

Whether you want to feel adored or dominated, you will need to give your partner or date the keys to your desire by telling them (or showing them) the words, touch, gestures, and energy that get you to your peak eroticism. Without this, sex can become repetitive and boring.

For example, it’s not enough to say, “I want to feel safe” or “seen” or “controlled”; you also need to tell them how to help you feel this way. You might say:

  1. “I want to feel safe with you, so start by wrapping me in your arms and holding me until we can feel the rhythms of each other’s breath moving together.”

  2. “I want to feel seen by you, so I don’t want you to start touching me right away. I want you to ask me to stand in front of you, but a little ways away, and then I want you to tell me all the things you see in me—my inner beauty and my outer beauty. You might tell me that you see how much I care about the people I love, and you might tell me that my eyes are full of warmth and wisdom.”

  3. “I want to feel controlled by you. I want you to send me a text telling me exactly what to do to prepare for our date tonight. Then I want you to command me to do things to myself and to you.”

Once you’ve shared what you want, it’s important to see if there is anything that your partner wants as well. That way you can cocreate an experience that is physically and psychologically arousing for both of you.

We hope you enjoy the amazing sex you’ll have when you get your body and your head into the experience.



Danielle Harel, PhD, is a sex therapist and relationship coach in Sunnyvale, California. She has a PhD in human sexuality studies, an MSW in clinical social work, and a BA in psychology and educational counseling. She sees clients in her Silicon Valley office and trains professionals in the Somatica Method, which she cocreated.


Celeste Hirschman, MA, is a sex therapist in San Francisco. She received her master’s in human sexuality studies from San Francisco State University. As a project manager at SFSU’s Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality, Hirschman researched adolescent sexuality development and the social roles that girls and boys learn and continue to play throughout their lives. She has her own private practice in San Francisco, where she sees clients. She teaches at the Somatica Institute, where she trains professionals in the Somatica Method, which she cocreated.